No matter who you are, or where you come from, if you’ve got a dream there’s no one out there that can stop you from achieving it.
One year ago, I finished my first medical school class. Here I am, 8 months away from the first benchmark on my path to becoming a doctor, board exams. I just want to reflect back on what it took for me to get here and all the people who told me I would never make it as a doctor.
This journey to becoming a doctor started in junior high. I decided then that softball and stellar grades would help me get into a well known college. I kept it up in high school and worked my ass off to get recruited and pushed myself to be the best student-athlete I knew i could be. I got recruited and made it to an Ivy League. Spent four years working even harder both on the field and off the field. That time was most definitely 4 of the more difficult yeats in my life, physically, mentally, emotionally, and intellectually. In the process though, I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. I also met the love of my life and grew a fondness for the Northeast as well as autumn.
During my undergrad, many people (peers and faculty) tried to convince me that I wasn’t cut out for medicine and I had little to no chance of being accepted into a medical school. As a very passionate person, that was extremely difficult to hear, especially considering how hard I had worked to get to that point. Deep down I knew they were wrong and that I had more to offer than they were seeing. So, I graduated with ok grades and an ok MCAT and decided to get my master’s in Chicago. I did well there and was surrounded by two types of people, those who knew I would make an amazing doctor and those who still thought I should pick a Plan B, just in case. Again, that was very frustrating. My master’s was followed up by a job in Chicago where I ended up proving myself as a capable individual, team player, and leader.
During my time working, I applied to medical school. It was the most nerve wrecking year of my life. I applied VERY broadly (35 schools, DO and MD). I’m a little ashamed to admit how many, but all that negativity in my past made me very unsure and doubtful. In the end though, it only takes one. I kept telling myself, that if someone would just take a leap of faith and accept me, they would not regret it. Of all the schools I applied to, I got 2 interviews, 1 acceptance and 1 waitlist. Half of the schools I applied to didn’t bother to even reject me.
So here I am. 14 months into medical school and doing pretty well, I’d say. Many of my classmates are shocked to hear that my path getting here was difficult and still don’t always believe me. I am currently Class President, Secretary of the COMP Council of Leaders, delegate to the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents, and VP of Student American Academy of Osteopathy. I have been able to maintain my grades and have had my hand in a multitude of different projects to improve the lives of my peers, both locally at COMP as well as nationally across the osteopathic world.
I don’t write all this to toot my horn, but to do two things: 1) remind myself that it is a privilege to be sitting where I am sitting right now (and I chose to make my life hectic with all these extracurriculars) and 2) give hope to people who share a similar history with me (those who have been discouraged from pursuing medicine even though they are spewing passion).
I’m not going to lie, this past year was very difficult and definitely full of it’s challenges. In the process, I lost the gratefulness that I had a year ago. So, I have decided to revitalize my blog here and post more about the positive, encouraging experiences I have. Ones that I feel I have learned from and others could also learn from. Ones that will keep me motivated and remember how privileged I am to be pursuing the line of work that I am.
So, all you students out there, pre-med or medical, keep your heads up. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it will all pay off. We have made it to medical school and we are doing what we have dreamed of doing forever. It is an amazing privilege and sacrifice. Keep rolling with it, be flexible…in the end, it will all work out and we will be where we want to be. Grab opportunities, follow them. You never know where they will lead you.